The new 1.4-kilometer Toranomon-Shinbashi stretch of Loop Road No. 2, a key Tokyo trunk route was opened to traffic on Saturday.
Tokyo Gov officiated at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new 40-meter-wide street with wide sidewalks, which developers say is modeled on Paris' Champs-Elysees. Developers plan to have trees line the sides of the street and include bicycle lanes.
The Toranomon-Shimbashi road was once dubbed "MacArthur Road" after U.S. Gen. Douglas MacArthur, supreme commander of the Allied powers during the occupation of Japan after World War II. He used the road to go to from his headquarters to the U.S. Embassy.
There have been plans since 1946 to build a new arterial road between Toranomon and Shimbashi as part of a loop road around central Tokyo but the plan remained unrealized for decades due to the government's inability to expropriate the necessary prime real estate.
The opening of Loop Road No. 2 will pave the way for the road’s extension in the near future from Shimbashi to Toyosu and Tokyo’s fast-developing bay shore area, where 2020 Olympic facilities are being built, which will vastly improve access between Toranomon and Tokyo International Airport, along with other key metropolitan gateways.© Japan Today